UP still looking to be more consistent amid win streak, says Ricci Rivero
MANILA, Philippines — Ricci Rivero believes University of the Philippines has to be more consistent despite winning eight straight games in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament.
With Ateneo dominating the league with 9-0 card and a 35-game strak since the 2018 season, UP is also making waves as the second placer wining all of its match since losing the opening game to the defending champion.
For Rivero, the best is yet to come for the Fighting Maroons.
“For me, we’re working to be more consistent,” said Rivero after scoring team-high 19 points in UP’s 73-70 victory over Far Eastern University on Tuesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“But we’re getting there, I’m just happy with how we close games. There are a lot of times that we’re trailing early so we need to fight back. But at the end of the buzzer what’s important is who wins.”
The 23-year-old winger scored 14 of his 19 points in the first half of their showdown with the RJ Abarrientos-led Tamaraws, who led 37-34 heading into the break.
Rivero said the Maroons stuck to coach Goldwin Monteverde’s system to keep their hot streak going.
“We stuck to the system again, as coach said there were times that we’re taking the wrong path, but once we get back to his system, we make runs both offensively and defensively,” he said.
Monteverde agreed with his senior player that there are still inconsistencies to address but he was happy to see his wards displaying a sense of urgency in their last eight wins.
“Although there are still some inconsistencies that we’re working on, what’s important is when it matters the players execute offensively and make defensive stops,” he said.
As the Final Four race heats up, the UP coach hopes the Maroons won’t stop from getting better each game.
“After every game, we just try to see what we can improve as a team. We still have a lot of games left in the second round. Hopefully, we can pick up whatever we could learn, whatever we could get from every game,” Monteverde said.
UP eyes its ninth straight win against Adamson (3-6) on Thursday at 4:30 pm.